Tag Archives: Trump

Respect Trump?

One last Trump post for a while. You’ve all had enough, haven’t You? This is about respect. In their call for unity and moving on with America’s future, many commentators among the various media have been exhorting the public to follow their lead and offer him not only a chance to succeed–but respect. Nonsense!

With less than a majority of the popular vote, Trump will be inaugurated on January 20, 2017. The American Presidency is a singularly important office. For the sake of not only America but the world, it’s a good thing if the person holding it does a good job. The office itself may be worthy of respect. But saying that merely by winning it one is deserving of respect is asinine. Let’s say, through some bizarre stroke of fate, that Charles Manson were elected President. Should we therefore replace the disgust and contempt in which we hold him with respect? I don’t think so, do you?

Contempt is what Trump is entitled to. Trump gains no respect by becoming President. He must earn it. Click To Tweet Trump has asked the American people to abandon division and unite. Wonderful! Now if he could just apologize for the divisive campaign he ran, that would be a start. He not only fomented division, he reveled in it and encouraged his followers to embrace his racism, sexism, bigotry and more. I won’t hold my breath for that apology. He owns his conduct–the media didn’t make up his comments, they just reported them.

Failure may be painful for America and the world, but that’s what will provide the most beneficial and instructive result in the long run. If he succeeds having conducted himself the way he did as he ran for President and as he has lived his 70 years, then others will be encouraged to think that they can do so as well. That will be a far greater tragedy with more serious consequences than his failure during his tenure in the White House. My hope and expectation is that his time in office will be less than a full four-year term. Impeachment or resignation; that’s justice. That’s respect for the office and for America

As time wears on, I may offer more on Trump, but I’d rather restrain myself and write on more pleasant and informative topics as often as I can. Thanks for the likes and the comments.

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Trump Wins–a Sad Day for America

The "winner" of the office but not the popular vote.

On a trip this summer, we met people from around the world. Without exception, all expressed dismay at the possible ascension of Trump to the White House. We assured them it couldn’t happen. Now that dark prospect has occurred. Today, were we on a similar journey, we would most likely say we were from Canada. Had Hillary Clinton not won the popular vote, I would be more ashamed than embarrassed at the election. What is most bewildering to my wife and I (I’m sure we are not alone), is who are these people who voted for Trump?

Perhaps, given the popularity of Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo-Boo, Naked and Afraid and similar “Reality TV” fare we shouldn’t be so amazed. As PT Barnum once said,  “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American public.” Trump, after all, is just as famous as Honey Boo-Boo and her dysfunctional family. Still, it’s incomprehensible to us that people could apparently be so gullible. Arguably disenfranchised Middle class people believe the vague promises of an alleged billionaire that he will be their champion. Others are so angry that John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell couldn’t stop Obama from  keeping the government running that they were oblivious to Trump’s failings. Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails,” were seemingly more important than Trump’s faults like these:

  • boasts that he knows more about everything than any expert on any topic of significance to being President when he actually knows less than anyone on anything and has no interest in learning
  • boasts of sexual assaults and corroboration by 12 accusers
  • racism, misogyny and xenophobia
  • plans to jail his opponent
  • calls to torture alleged terrorists or kill their families
  • ignorance of constitutional protections for religion
  • pathological lying about his own policies or positions even when confronted with a record of his own words
  • incessant insults to anyone and everyone, including the Khan family
  • projection of his faults on others–such as being crooked, lying, etc.

Now, in his victory remarks, Trump says:

“Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division [which he inflicted throughout his campaign by his rhetoric], have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

Seriously? Later he said this, in part, about his “movement”:

“It is a movement comprised of [sic] Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs. . .” [Like 8% of African-American voters, a few Muslims, and less than 20% of Hispanics—who are undoubtedly not of Mexican descent]

He said on the campaign trail that he would “drain the swamp” Actually, he will refill it with his own slime dwelling bottom feeders. He’ll send adulterers, sexual predators (like himself), failed military and economic advisors and others, some of whom, I assume, are good people–to the swamp of the cabinet and the White House.

So no, I do not wish Trump a successful presidency. I wish him a very short one. Not like Mitch McConnell–who made it his mission that Obama would be a one-term President. No, less than one term. Perhaps it might come from being impeached for using the presidency as a means of enriching the Trump Organization through corrupt foreign policy decisions. Perhaps it might come from being charged with  treason for yet to happen dealings with Vladimir Putin. Maybe he will simply resign as his limited intellectual capacity and stamina is overtaxed by the stresses of decision-making demanded of a President.

“Great events never have minor omens. When great evil occurs, great good follows.”  Nichiren Daishonin.

America’s Presidential Election yesterday, in my opinion, qualifies as a great evil. We survived Watergate and Richard Nixon. How great the good that followed may be debatable, but America certainly learned from it. We will learn from America’s Trump folly. It will be costly–in terms of the National Debt, the risks of war and many more dangers his incompetence poses. Come 2018, whether he has left office or not, Democrats will regain control of both the House and the Senate. Then the swamp will be drained.

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Vote for Clinton–If You Haven’t Already

So Sad! New York Magazine cover October 31, 2016
So Sad! New York Magazine cover October 31, 2016

There’s still time, if you haven’t already voted, to make this New York Magazine cover a reality on November 9th, if not the night before. It’s important to do so; see my post of yesterday on what a Trump Presidency would entail. The cover story by Frank Rich in the New York magazine has this header, “Trump’s Appeasers: Charles Lindbergh was a national hero, then a fascist sympathizer. History will be just as brutal to more than a few current Republican leaders.”

I already voted for Clinton and not as the lesser of two evils. She has 30 years of public service championing the rights of children, the disabled and women. She is guilty of NOTHING re: Benghazi—check her 11 hours before a witch-hunting committee of Congress. She has an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge that Donald Trump doesn’t have. [Did his father make a major contribution to get Donald into college?] She did make a stupid, but not criminal case of having a private email server. But what of Trump’s emails? He or his organization regularly deleted business emails to hide them from discovery in lawsuits.

Trump isn’t just guilty of virtually everything he has accused her and his primary opponents of; he’s guilty of much more. He is the most disreputable, most ill-informed, most sexist, most bigoted and most dangerous candidate ever to run for national office in American history. Let’s illustrate just a few of the ways he is unfit to hold the least office of a state or local government—let alone be President of the United States:

  • He says, “No one has more respect for women than I do.” Seriously? He brags about being able grab any woman by the genitals and denies he’s actually done so. But 12 women say he did as he bragged about. “They’re all liars,” he says.
  • He knows more than the generals about military strategy. Seriously? My dog knows more strategy than Trump does!
  • He was told by intelligence officials that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC, American election records and more but doesn’t believe it. He probably knows more than investigators at the 17 US intelligence agencies too. No LOL–it’s not funny.
  • He praises Vladimir Putin because the translation of a Russian word that means brilliant didn’t mean smart, it meant being “flashy.” Worse, Trump is a “useful fool” or tool for the former KGB head—which is why Russian agents are meddling in the US election on his behalf, worrying other Western nations.
  • While he, his family and his campaign manager all say he is a generous man, investigations by the Washington Post show little or no donations by him to charities and his own foundation relies on donations from others—which go to buy portraits of himself or renovate properties. Meanwhile, he showed up at a charity event photo-op as if he had donated—when he hadn’t.
  • He and his chief surrogate Rudy Giuliani claimed an “indictment is near” against the Clinton Foundation. As Trump himself would say, WRONG! Rather, the lie came from leaks by hyper-partisan FBI agents (who hate Clinton and support Trump) at the FBI New York Field Office (AKA Trumpland or Trumplandia) who relied on a book by Breitbart alumni for their investigation, (“The Clinton Cash.” ) If Clinton is elected, it is those agents that may wind up being investigated, rather than her or the Clinton Foundation!
  • It is those same agents that enabled Rudy Giuliani to tell Fox News two days before FBI Director Comey released his letter to Congress about the “new” email discovery.
  • Trump half-heartedly rejects the support of the KKK, David Duke and various Neo-Nazi groups but welcomes “Michael the Black Man,” a former member of a now-defunct Yahweh Ben Yahweh murderous cult that, who can be seen with a large “Blacks for Trump” sign at many of Trump’s rallies—the man is an “anti-gay, anti-liberal preacher” according to the Miami News.
  • His third Eastern European wife, Melania, said in a Thursday speech in Berwyn Pennsylvania that she would focus on “cyberbullying” as First Lady—she would start, one must assume, with Donald himself. The New York Times published a full two-page spread of the 6,000 twitter insults Trump issued against 280 some individuals, groups or organizations just since the campaign began.
  • His two main surrogates, like himself, cheated on prior wives while getting ready to marry their current ones. In the case of Newt Gingrich, that was while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer. We can assume they must respect women as much as Trump himself does.
  • He won’t release his tax returns but what has come out through leaks enables David Cay Johnston to predict that Trump may never pay federal taxes the rest of his life
  • No need to mention Khizar Khan, Alycia Machado, et al. You know all about them.
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A Trump Presidency

Photo of Trump at a campaign event
REUTERS/Dominick

Here’s what will happen if Trump wins the election.

  • The stock market crashes, slashing retirement funds and investor income
  • Russia invades and takes over Ukraine—the US does nothing
  • Emergency rooms are swamped as people formerly insured by Obamacare come to hospitals for routine treatment
  • Planned Parenthood shuts down after Federal funding is eliminated; infant mortality, breast and uterine cancer rates increase dramatically
  • Stephen Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Roger Stone, Newt Gingrich, Michael Flynn, Katrina Pierson and a couple others are appointed to his cabinet
  • The KKK, neo-nazis and other right wing groups hold celebrations throughout the country after the election
  • Trump employs undocumented workers as housekeepers, cooks and waiters in the former White House—now known as Trump House
  • More coal is mined and burned—global warming accelerates with increased carbon emissions
  • Michelle Obama’s garden is replaced by the Trump House Casino
  • Roe v Wade is repealed by extreme conservatives appointed to the Supreme Court by Trump; backstreet abortions cause septicemia, scarring and some fatalities
  • US military bases, missile defense systems, etc. are closed or removed from countries who don’t pay their fair share to NATO
  • The FBI drops the Manafort investigation and other inquiries about Trump aides connections with Russians
  • A special prosecutor is named to investigate Hillary Clinton
  • Trump orders all federal investigators and the military to employ waterboarding and any other means necessary to get the truth from suspected terrorists
  • Vendors for balls, bleachers, parades and other inaugural-related events sue Trump for unpaid invoices
  • Trump orders Homeland Security to enforce a policy that TSA ask for proof of citizenship of all persons who look Hispanic or Muslim, traveling by air domestically
  • The national debt increases substantially as tax revenues decline and expenditures rise for national golf courses, casinos and the like
  • Trump tells state and local police they should ask for proof of citizenship and religion during routine traffic stops and when stopping and frisking suspicious looking individuals
  • Senior military officials who were members of the Joint Chiefs or otherwise served under Obama’s leadership are replaced by those of ideological purity and military incompetence
  • All women appointed to Cabinet positions (1-2) and agency heads had to be rated at 7.5 or above by Trump—no fatties, no flat chests
  • Congress impeaches Trump as Trump Organization business interests overseas influence many foreign policy decisions,  enriching him and his family
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The Fat Lady Is Warming Up

Elephant, feet in air

The Trump party is coming to an end soon, on a network near you. Maybe as soon as Sunday night in St. Louis. Listen for the Fat Lady singing.

 

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Aleppo–a Time to Act

Damaged buildings in Syria, from CNN website
Damaged buildings in Syria, from CNN website

ISIS/ISIL, Bashar al Assad, Russia, rebels of every stripe, the U.S. and the UN. Just some of the players in Syria. The problem has been finding rebels to support that might take down Assad but that weren’t ISIS or Al Qaeda. And to avoid what happened in Iraq–getting rid of Assad without leaving the country in worse shape after all. ISIS may be on the run, but now with Russia aiding Assad more and more, atrocities in Aleppo (and no doubt elsewhere) get worse. See this article from Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on CNN.

When war crimes are happening daily, can the world afford to wait? As a Buddhist and a person who values diplomacy over war, I am loathe to suggest more U.S. military involvement. But can we expect the UN to help? Not in time. Can we just let Russia roll? One has to believe that Sergei Lavrov has been playing John Kerry for a fool on the cease-fire. I camped on the Mall in Washington, DC with Kerry when he was a leader of the Vietnam Vets Against the War. Many years after that I included my antiwar sentiments into a memoir, Waiting for Westmoreland, that also explained how I came to accept the responsibility to change myself in order to make the world a better and more peaceful place. But Buddhism doesn’t indulge the “turn the other cheek” principle of Christianity. Self-defense and defense of others is always a legitimate thing in Buddhism.

Perhaps President Obama is waiting until after November 8th, when his lame duck status is not only certain but won’t inconvenience Hillary Clinton. Were she in office right now, she would likely institute a no-fly zone over Aleppo and might be willing to challenge Russian and Syrian aircraft who violate it. We can assume Trump would do no such thing and would let Russia aid Syria until all opposition to that brutal dictator and war criminal Assad was crushed and he regained complete control of Syria.

The children and the citizens of Aleppo can’t wait. If the U.S. needs to shoot down some Russian planes (or believably threaten to do so) then so be it. We need to tell Putin we are ready to hack every computer system in Russia until it’s power grid, its infrastructure and its communication system fails or is completely crippled. Will he believe it? Can Obama bluff him? He’s been calling our bluff for some time. Now we need to call his and do it–NOW. His government hackers have been doing their best to get Trump elected. That interference has to stop. Is that a declaration of war? Probably close to it, but I prefer to call it defense of others. A believable threat has to move him. Putin will only go as far as he thinks he can get away with. He’s not sitting at a console ready to launch nukes. Do you think so? I don’t.

Congress is not in session. Calling them back will likely result in no approval. The UN Security Council won’t approve such action because Russia will veto it. So it’s more than a big political gamble. It could result in big problems for Clinton before the election. Or then again, maybe not. THEN we can sort out who needs to be supported in Syria. Obama can then exit and hand over the mess to Hillary Clinton, who is capable of handling it even if he isn’t willing or able to do it. Enough is enough.

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The Debates Are Coming–Super Bowl or Blowout

The debates are a just a week away. The race has tightened. I’m not sanguine but neither am I trembling in fear. Which Trump will be at the debates? The submissive one that fears dominant women or the bully that insults everyone? Click To Tweet Will he dare call Hillary crooked or a liar to her face? He bullies her at his peril but I think he’s too cowardly to do so. But can he be calm enough to woo any undecideds? In the GOP debates and on Twitter he mocked and insulted all his opponents—with one exception, Carly Fiorina. Before the debates, he asked if hers was face of a President. During the first debate, he backed down and said she had a beautiful face. He did protest her interrupting others in the 2nd debate–hardly up to his usual insults. He tweeted terrible things about Megyn Kelly but couldn’t behave that way with her in person. More recently, in the United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan, he meekly accepted Pastor Faith Green Timmons interrupting him to let him know that he couldn’t make a political speech. Later he tweeted a blast calling her a nervous mess and falsely claiming people in the church were enthusiastic about his talk.

It’s not only strong women Trump has problems with either; it’s world leaders as well. Ironic after all his vile rhetoric about Mexican immigrants and the government that he should diffidently offer praise of the country and its president Enrique Pena Nieto In his news conference after their meeting. The mild mannered Trump said the matter of the wall didn’t come up. But the Mexican President tweeted out that it had and that he told Trump in no uncertain terms that Mexico would not be paying for any wall. Trump went on a rampage that night in Arizona during his immigration policy speech and tweeted back rude comments to the Mexican President.

This is part of Trump’s bombastic bully routine. He confidently insults and belittles others out of their presence. When in person, he bullies only when he thinks them inferior. He is afraid of women, especially strong American women. Which probably has something to do with why he has had three Eastern European wives. So how will or how should Hillary respond to Trump? Trump (and his lame-brained running mate Pence) wants to paint the Apprentice host as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Not hardly! On the contrary, “there you go again,” worked very well for Reagan against Jimmy Carter attacks. When Trump offers insults, lies or nonsense, I suggest Clinton chuckle and ask “Seriously?” Click To Tweet It might even pick up some Millennials or at least Gen Xers. Maybe too snarky for Clinton or not her style. But with humor, maybe it’s the right response to “bomb the s—t out of them” or that Obama and she are the “co-founders of ISIS”.

Unfortunately, given the sexism of many male Americans, Clinton has a fine line to walk in being assertive and not “bitchy.” That’s where smiles and humor may be effective. She can do as she does in the many ads her campaign has run—use his own words against him. She can offer specific, pragmatic policies to Trumps vague and glib generalities—especially his “secret plan.” Whichever Trump shows up, it will probably be the real one. The one whose America First pronouncement harkens back to Nazi sympathizers before the start of World War II. The one whose “Make America Great Again” slogan suggests the 1920s, before the Great Depression and when the KKK marched in Manhattan. Or even all the way back to the Know Nothing party of the 1850s in another anti-immigrant time in America. The con man. The corrupt capitalist. The racist. The man who may have a future hosting a reality TV show on RT, the Russian network where Larry King interviewed him—maybe a show like The Apparatchik.

OK, enough on the debate. Let’s end this with some one-liners from long ago that fit well on a man who lives in America’s past.

  • Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. (Oh well, too late for that, isn’t it.) Which leads right into the next one.

  • He has constipation of the brain and diarrhea of the mouth. (Or in Trump’s case, perhaps it’s diarrhea of the keyboard for twitter.)

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The Clinton Foundation–Doing Good and NOT a Political BFD

Clinton Foundation logoSo, 85 of 154 non-governmental meetings Hillary Clinton had were with donors to the Clinton Foundation, according to an AP story. If so, SO WHAT! Pay for play? NO! Quid pro quo? NO! Illegality? NO! More political theater as Trump goes off the rails asking for a special prosecutor etc.

  • She had 1,700 other meetings–during her time as Secretary of State
  • She drew no salary from the Foundation
  • She received no money, gifts or other favors from those she met with
  • There is no indication that any of these meetings resulted in the donors benefitting personally in any way
  • The Foundation is well-regarded by charity watchdog groups–getting an A from Charity Watch and a platinum rating from GuideStar
  • It IS a nonprofit organization; it’s not set up to make money for any member of the Clinton family
  • The Foundation has done great work around the world and in the US since its creation–as detailed in this story on CNN:
In more than 70 countries, according to the foundation, it helps 11.5 million people, including 800,000 children, with HIV/AIDS get their medication at 90% lower cost — more than half the adults and three-quarters of the children getting treatment in the world today.
But it does all kinds of other work as well. For instance, it helps East African farmers get better seeds and fertilizers. It supported Nepal’s reconstruction after the 2015 earthquakes. And it has connected more than 500,000 Latin Americans to job training and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The Clinton Foundation does tons of work in the US, too. Some examples: It has a school program that operates in every state, affecting more than 31,000 schools and 18 million students by its count. That program is to improve physical education, child nutrition, health education and staff wellness programs. They also work on prescription drug addiction. The foundation wants to halve the number of opioid overdoses — right now those drugs kill more Americans than car accidents.

 

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Make Gotham Great Again?

So much anger. So much hatred. So much blame. Four days of the Republican National Convention. With only a few glimmers of light or hope. In his dystopian view of America Donald J. Trump sees the entire Country as Gotham.  A lawless place where terrorists from Islamic countries, murderers and rapists from Mexico, Black Lives Matters-inspired cop shooters and other evildoers  roam the streets preying on innocent Americans. Fear no more–Trump and the GOP (at least many of the delegates at the Republican National Convention who are office holders) will quickly make it safe again!

But how?

Well, in the minds of Trump, Congressional Republicans and many of the attendees at the convention, the rise of terrorism is all the fault of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The two Democrats probably recruited Osama bin Laden to organize the 9/11 attacks just to make George Bush look bad! So the first step is locking up Hillary Clinton, as the Rudelicans at the convention yelled over and over again. Or she could be shot by a firing squad if Al Baldasaro, Trump supporter and New Hampshire state representative has his way. Or she could be hung on the Mall in Washington, DC, if United Airlines pilot and member of the West Virginia House of Delegates Michael Folk has his way. United Airlines suspended Folk from flying. The Secret Service is investigating Baldasaro. If Trump is elected, Obama will be gone, of course, and Trump will change everything on Inaugural Day, January 20, 2017–instantaneously!

Seems unlikely at best but read on. The plans will come later of course; just trust him–but how can we when he lies cheats and steals so much (more on that later) and can’t even run as important an event as his own convention without screwing up so many things. Like Melania’s plagiarism, Ted Cruz taking his revenge for the Donald’s slander of Ted’s wife and father–just to mention a couple of the biggies. So if he couldn’t get this four-day event for himself right, how can he lead the country? Anyway, based on what we know now and what we might imagine could be on tap, here’s what to expect. Continue reading Make Gotham Great Again?

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Honest and Trustworthy–Donald or Hillary?

It’s 17 weeks until the U.S. Presidential Election. I have tired of offering political commentary. Those few of you who regularly read this blog will note that there have been far fewer as time has passed over a few years ago. So here’s the deal: Four political posts from now until the election. About one per week. That’s it; no more.

So, an MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll says 41% find Donald Trump to be honest and straightforward. Really?!  Hillary just 25%! Well, after FBI Director Comey’s no indictment broadside, looks like he’s in the low end. But let’s look at the  ratings of supposedly factual statements of Donald and Hillary by the nonpartisan group, Politifact.

Politifact found that only 23% of Trump’s statements were true, mostly true or half true. The remaining 77% were mostly false, false or “pants on fire” falsehoods. Basically, he makes stuff up. Like that Rubio’s father had some involvement in JFK’s assassination. He says things and then denies he said them, like calling women “fat pigs.” He calls Hillary crooked. But how many lawsuits has he lost, settled or been involved in regarding deceptive or fraudulent business practices? Way more than Secretary Clinton. He knows little about anything other than how to start businesses with other people’s money and bail when they fail. How can anyone go bankrupt running a casino (four times!) when the house always wins? So he lies and calls other people names. Oh, his “pants on fire” percentage was 20%—one in five of the items that Politifact checked!

Politifact found this about Hillary’s “facts”: 73% were true, mostly true or half true (almost the complete opposite of Trump!) Only 27% of her statements were mostly false, false or pants on fire. Notably, on 1% fell into the pants on fire category. So who’s honest and straightforward? The winner is Hillary, even adding in FBI Director Comey’s remarks.

Just in case there’s any doubt, I am not nonpartisan. Here’s my John Oliver/HBO cap to prove it.

Me wearing Make Donald Drumpf Again cap

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